13 Best Highlights from Ravens vs. Broncos
The AFC divisional game between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos featured one highlight after another, and we saw three touchdowns before six minutes had elapsed.
The action never let up from start to finish, as both teams made big plays throughout the contest. In the end, the Ravens beat the Broncos by a score of 38-35 in overtime.
Here are the game's biggest highlights for your viewing pleasure.
Trindon Holliday's Punt Return for TD
Before Peyton Manning ever hit the field, the Broncos scored a touchdown.
Trindon Holliday took a Matt Prater punt 90 yards for the game's first touchdown before three minutes had ticked off the clock.
Many viewers likely wondered if this game would be over before halftime, but those thoughts didn't last long.
Torrey Smith Beats Champ Bailey and Scores on Long Bomb
After Holliday's touchdown, the Ravens started their next drive deep in their own territory, thanks to a botched return by Jacoby Jones.
A few plays later, Torrey Smith blew past Champ Bailey—one of the NFL's best cornerbacks in one-on-one situations—and Joe Flacco hit him in stride for a huge game-breaking play.
Fifty-nine yards later, Smith tied the game.
Corey Graham Scores a TD on a Controversial Play
Less than one minute after Smith's huge touchdown catch, the Ravens put another touchdown on the scoreboard.
Manning threw a pass to Eric Decker, who was interfered with on the play by Chykie Brown. The officials didn't make the call, though, and Corey Graham had the ball fall into his lap.
From there, it was an easy 39-yard run for Graham for a touchdown, as he had plenty of blockers in front of him.
Manning Leads A Comeback
It didn't take Manning long to lead his team on a touchdown drive to tie the game.
On the drive following Graham's interception, Manning led an 11-play drive that ended on a gorgeous touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley.
Manning threw the ball where only Stokley could bring it down, and his receiver did a phenomenal job of keeping his body in bounds to secure the score.
The Broncos Start Rolling
After Manning's first touchdown pass of the game, the two defenses stiffened up for a few drives.
Then, in the second quarter, the Broncos were able to convert a couple of key third downs and put together an eight-play drive that resulted in another pretty touchdown pass from Manning, who hooked up with running back Knowshon Moreno for the go-ahead score.
The pass couldn't have been thrown any better, and the Broncos led 21-14 with over seven minutes remaining in the first half.
So much for the cold having an impact on scoring, right?
Torrey Smith Beats Champ Bailey: Part Deux
Manning's second touchdown wasn't the last score of the first half.
Flacco and the Ravens drove down the field in the final minute of the first half. Flacco converted a couple of key first downs before hitting Smith for their second touchdown of the first half—both coming at the expense of legendary cornerback Bailey.
At the half, the score was tied 21-21.
Second Half Starts Out With a Bang
The Denver Broncos scored a touchdown on the opening play of the second half.
Holiday, who returned a punt for a touchdown earlier in the game, took the opening kickoff of the second half from about four yards deep in his own end zone and returned it all the way for a touchdown.
Given the thin air in Denver, Holiday certainly had to take a few hits off the oxygen tank after this one, and the torrid pace of the first half seemed to bleed into the second.
Peyton Manning Gives It Right Back
Manning and the Broncos were marching down the field with full control of this game, working on a nine-play drive that started from their 25-yard line.
They had driven into Ravens territory when Pernell McPhee made a huge play, stripping the ball from Manning on a sack/fumble that Paul Kruger recovered.
The officials reviewed the play, as it looked like Manning may have been attempting a forward pass, in which case the tuck rule would have applied, but the ruling on the field was upheld.
Ray Rice Happened
On the Ravens' next drive, offensive coordinator put his trust in Ray Rice, who delivered by rushing the ball five consecutive times for 37 yards and a touchdown.
The highlight was Rice's 32-yard run up the middle on the second play of the drive, and just like that, the momentum was turned in favor of the Ravens.
The score was tied at 28 apiece after this touchdown, setting up a tense fourth quarter.
Manning Hits Demaryius Thomas For the Go-Ahead TD
With just over 12 minutes remaining in the game, Manning and the Broncos began on their 12-yard line.
Thus began another long drive for the Broncos. Manning called the entire thing on the fly, calling plays at the line of scrimmage with his patented no-huddle. Ronnie Hillman rushed the ball effectively, and Manning was excellent in the passing game.
The drive culminated on this bubble screen to Demaryius Thomas—a perfect call that exploited the Ravens tired defense that resulted in a 17-yard touchdown, putting the Broncos up by a score of 35-28 with just over seven minutes to go.
Flacco and Jacoby Jones Burn the Broncos
With just 38 seconds left on the game clock, down by a touchdown at their 30-yard line, the Ravens tied the game.
Jones somehow got behind the Broncos defense, and Flacco hit him for the 70-yard bomb with 31 seconds left in the game.
Manning and the Broncos took a knee to force overtime, tied at 35 apiece.
Corey Graham Strikes Again
Near the end of the first overtime period, Manning attempted to hit Stokley while rolling out—not one of his specialties.
Graham made his second huge play of the game, intercepting the pass and giving the Ravens a chance to win the contest on a field goal.
Justin Tucker Seals the Deal for Baltimore
After a few key plays that put the Ravens into field-goal range, Justin Tucker had a chance to win the game with a 47-yard field goal.
Which he nailed.
Ray Lewis' NFL journey isn't over yet, folks.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.
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